A pet squirrel named Joey chased off a burglar last week by scratching the teen suspect when he tried to break into a gun safe, police said.
The unidentified teenager told officers that the squirrel’s attack “scared him, obviously, because he wasn’t expecting to have, you know, a squirrel come flying out of nowhere at him,” said Officer Ashley Turner of the police department in Meridian, a Boise suburb. “So basically he said he took what he could and left as fast as he could.”
The suspect, who has been charged with felony burglary for allegedly breaking into four homes, told police that the squirrel attacked him. Police aren’t releasing the suspect’s name because he is a juvenile.
“He took what he could and left,” Turner said. “He was kind of terrified that the squirrel went ‘spider monkey’ on him,” Turner told the Idaho Statesman.
The squirrel’s owner, Adam Pearl, said Joey has lived in his house for about six months after he was found in a flower garden by a friend’s daughter when he was about a week old.
He said Joey’s eyes were still closed, and they set an alarm to feed him every two hours.
“His temperament is kind of like a cat,” Pearl said. “When he wants attention, he'll run up to you and climb up your leg.”
Joey eats nuts and greens, and spinach is his favorite. He buries some of the nuts in houseplants inside Pearl’s house and uses a litterbox.
“He trained himself,” Pearl said.
Turner said she saw its “nest” in a kitchen cabinet and watched it playing with a peanut butter bottle.
Joey’s reward for his vigilance were Whoppers, the squirrel’s favorite candy.
Pearl had planned to release Joey into his backyard in the spring.
“But now, I don’t know,” he said. “I’m kind of torn.”
The Idaho Statesman contributed to this story.